Britain ‘at risk of missing climate target without smart meters’

Credit: Adam John – www.utilityweek.co.uk – 10 May 2019

Britain ‘at risk of missing climate target without smart meters’
 
 Britain is at risk of missing its climate change targets if more people do not adopt smart meter devices, research has suggested.

While the devices themselves do not actually contribute to reducing carbon emissions, consumers monitoring their devices can use them to change their behaviour and lower their carbon use.

The research, commissioned by Smart Energy GB and carried out by consultancy firm Delta-ee, suggested that without smart meters reducing carbon emissions and meeting the UK’s climate change targets will be “higher cost, less supportive of renewable generation and less well co-ordinated”.

It also found that smart meters will contribute to a 25 per cent carbon dioxide saving in homes by 2035 providing they are used properly.

As well as a 25 per cent reduction in homes the research found that in transport smart meters will be “enablers” for high levels of electrification, resulting in a 54 per cent reduction in CO2 by 2035.

Meanwhile in electricity generation the research found that smart meters will be an “essential building block” for a 77 per cent CO2 reduction.

Robert Cheesewright, director of corporate affairs at Smart Energy GB, said: “We have never been more aware of our impact on the planet.

“It’s time we all contribute towards making the simple upgrade to a smart meter that has the potential to save millions of tonnes of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.

“This report shows that smart meters are a key part of a potential 25 per cent carbon saving, helping us to achieve our environmental targets and take an important step towards achieving a greener and more sustainable Britain.”

Dr Andrew Turton, principal analyst at Delta-ee, added: “To decarbonise the energy system and meet our climate change targets, we need much more flexibility to allow for the integration of decentralised low carbon technologies.  This system needs customers to use energy at the times when low carbon supply is available. This in turn, requires energy demands to be accurately measured in near real-time.  Smart meters are an essential building block in achieving these aims and will provide the necessary consumption data to sooner reach a low carbon system.”

In March the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint against Smart Energy GB and said that if it made energy savings claims it should make it “sufficiently clear” the savings depend on users monitoring their energy and making changes.

The company appealed the ruling but the appeal was rejected by the ASA.

A Smart Energy GB spokesperson said: “The ASA agrees with us that if we all get a smart meter we could save enough energy to power Manchester, Liverpool or Newcastle.  If Britain is serious about tackling climate change and our children inheriting a planet worth living on one of the ways we can all help is to get a smart meter, save money and the environment all at the same time.  However we disagreed with the ASA’s ruling on a technical point around the use of terms and conditions and disclaimers and appealed the decision.  The ASA have upheld their original findings and we will of course take their ruling into consideration in future.”